Sunday, February 23, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 740th Edition

Welcome to the 740th Edition of my series.  Today, I start my rehearsals for YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU.  I look forward to getting to know this cast and working with them.  Also remember that this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday where we celebrate the loved ones in our lives with the Ash variation in their name.  I don't have much else happening so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

Hot Fuzz (2007):  This is part three of my possible five-part Steve Coogan series where on here he makes more of a cameo.  Edgar Wright directed this film which was co-written by Simon Pegg who also stars.  Pegg stars as London cop Nicholas Angel who is just too good at his job, he gets transferred to the more quiet town of Sandford.  He is paired with a rather naive cop named Danny Butterman, played by Nick Frost, and must convince Danny that not everything is what it seems when people continue to die by "accident".  Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Robert Popper, Joe Cornish, Chris Wait, Billie Whitelaw, Peter Wight, Bill Bailey, Paul Freeman, Stuart Wilson, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon, Edward Woodward, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is a very dark comedy to say the least but still delivers a lot of laughs even after the graphic deaths.  This is the second of the "trilogy" which was directed by Wright and stars Pegg and Frost where the first was SHAUN OF THE DEAD and the second being THE WORLD'S END.  Fans of dark and British comedy will love this one.

Porky's (1981):  I follow up with a more raunchy comedy which was written and directed by Bob Clark.  This takes place in a '50s high school where a group of teens embark on a game of sexual innuendo and other hijinks.  Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight, Roger Wilson, Cyril O'Reilly, Tony Ganios, Kaki Hunter, Kim Cattrall, Nancy Parsons, Scott Colomby, Boyd Gaines, Doug McGrath, Susan Clark, Art Hindle, Wayne Maunder, Alex Karras, Chuck Mitchell, Eric Christmas, and many others co-star in this comedy.  Like the first selection, this is not comedy for everyone.  I suppose you could say this is a pre-AMERICAN PIE.  There is also a lot of political incorrectness in this movie that was a little more acceptable at the time.  Also, keep in mind the director is the same person that directed A CHRISTMAS STORY so a big contrast there.  This would really be a good selection for Guy's Night and is the first of a trilogy.

The Expendables 3 (2014):  I come with another series that is so far a trilogy so I have part two, part one, and now part three on these first three selections.  Patrick Hughes directed this sequel where our boys return lead by Barney Ross, reprised by Sylvester Stallone, who sees someone from his past that he thought was dead in a man named Stonestreet, played by Mel Gibson.  Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews are along for the ride and being joined by a knife-wielding Wesley Snipes.  Ross feels he needs newer people to take on his old enemy and recruits Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, and Kellan Lutz who are younger, faster, and more tech-savvy but Ross soon learns that the others are still needed.  He also reunites with his ASSASSINS rival Antonio Banderas who persistently joins the team.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Robert Davi, and many others co-star in this action sequel.  Ford is essentially a replacement for Bruce Willis who dropped out of the series due to a pay dispute apparently.  Fans of Jet Li might be a little disappointed as he really only has more of a cameo at the action climax.  I know Snipes has had a lot of financial issues so it was good to see Stallone give him some work and was a suitable addition in my opinion.  I know this got a lot of mixed reactions and that I was not supposed to like it but I just could not help but enjoy.  I admit it did not really measure up to the first two but it was still a fun adrenaline rush just like the first two.  I hear there is a fourth one in development and it would be really cool to see Mr. T and Carl Weathers if that is possible.

Should Married Men Go Home? (1928):  This is my silent comedy short for the week which features legendary comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, known more as Laurel and Hardy.  Leo McCarey and James Parrott directed this short where Laurel visits Hardy and are thrown out by Hardy's wife.  They end up at a golf course and get into a very comedic battle with experienced golfers in order to please a couple ladies.  The talkies started the year before but these guys had not transitioned yet.  This does have a lot of laughs and will be enjoyed by those who love silent and classic comedy.

Father's Little Dividend (1951):  Vincente Minnelli directed this sequel to the 1950 comedy hit FATHER OF THE BRIDE.  Spencer Tracy reprises his role as Stanley Banks who has come to terms with his daughter Kay, played by Elizabeth Taylor, getting married but now he must deal with becoming a grandfather.  He worries about things like expenses and how much they are ready to become parents.  Joan Bennett, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, Moroni Olsen, Richard Rober, Marietta Canty, Russ Tamblyn, and many others co-star in this comedy sequel.  The predecessor to this movie really needs to be watched first and this makes a great follow-up.  In the '90s when FATHER OF THE BRIDE was remade, they had their own sequel but was not the same as this sequel.  This is a pretty harmless comedy in preparation to parenthood and even being grandparents.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962):  Now I stray from the comedic selections into a far more serious one.  Robert Mulligan directed this adaptation from the classic novel by Harper Lee.  This takes place in the depression era south and the main part of the story is of a black man on trial for rape and because of the racism of this era and location he is automatically guilty no matter the actual innocence.  Gregory Peck stars as the noble attorney Atticus Finch who defends Tom Robinson, played by Brock Peters, whose innocence is very obvious but because he is black it does not matter.  It is from the point of view of his daughter Scout, played by Mary Badham, who is a six year old girl living her childhood along with her older brother Jem, played by Philip Alford.  A lot of this movie is Scout trying to understand the messages of her father.  Robert Duvall makes his debut as Boo Radley.  This is a very good depiction of a segregated south that is one of the best movie adaptations of a book.  I have heard that some schools have stopped the reading of this book because of the comfort level which I do not agree.  This is a timeless message that every generation needs to know.  No matter how many times I see it, I never cease to tear up in the scene when Atticus is leaving the courtroom and the Negros stand as he leaves knowing Atticus did everything possible for Tom.  The other scene that gets me is near the end when Scout is able to understand a situation by one of her father's messages.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

The Seduction of Mimi (1972):  This is my Italian film for the week which was written and directed by Lina Wertmuller.  Giancarlo Giannini stars as Mimi where he struggles to find work that is not run by the mafia and goes to Turin hoping to find a job where he does not find much other success.  He embarks on an extramarital affair with street vendor Fiorella, played by Mariangela Melato, and has a child with her leaving him to hide the news from his wife.  This is a hard one to really explain further.  Part of this is a satire towards working conditions in Italy and part of it is the slow corruption of Mimi.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel but only until the 29th of this month as well as other works from Wertmuller.

Queen:  Rock Montreal and Live Aid (2007):  This is my concert video for the week where Queen performs life for Montreal in 1981 and for Live Aid in 1985.  This is pretty self-explanatory and not much description needs to be given here.  This showcases Queen and emphasizes all the members of the band.  For those who just dislike Queen will not want to see this but if you do enjoy Queen, this will be a great watch.  This could be a good double feature to go along with the 2018 biopic BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

The Tall Stranger (1957):  This is my western for the week which was directed by Thomas Carr and based on a story by Louis L'Amour.  Joel McCrea stars as Ned Bannon who is returning to his town after the civil war after being left for dead.  When getting there, he looks to stop feuds from going on but runs into people who have a lot of animosity and must overcome that.  Virginia Mayo, Barry Kelley, Michael Pate, Michael Ansara, Leo Gordon, Whit Bissell, Ray Teal, and many others co-star in this western.  This is a pretty gritty western from this era.  McCrea does a great job as Bannon showing how underrated he is by today's standards.  This is available to watch on Hulu.

Loop (2020):  I decided to end the week on this animated short.  Erica Milsom wrote and directed this animated short film which takes place in a canoe camp.  Two kids named Marcus, voiced by Christiano Delgado, and Renee, voiced by Madison Bandy, are adrift in a canoe and must find a way to communicate to understand each other better.  Renee is an autistic youth with limited speaking and Marcus looks to find a way to connect with her.  Louis Gonzalez and Asher Brodkey also provide their voices.  This is part of the Pixar SparkShorts series which are independent animated shorts that Pixar produces.  This is a pretty groundbreaking animated short from Pixar to feature an autistic character.  It is a touching ten minutes and is available to watch on Disney Plus.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Anthony Hopkins and many others.

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